Writing table

by Georg Haupt

The change from Rococo to Classical in Sweden was neither rapid nor very uniform. Some things changed faster than others. 

Where furniture is concerned, we have a cabinet-maker whose progress we can follow when he introduces the new stylistic ideals. His name is Georg Haupt, and he was a Swedish master craftsman of the 18th century.

In 1769, while in England, he was made carpenter by royal appointment. He immediately returned home to Sweden and collected orders. Previously he had studied in France, and many of his furniture designs are of French origin. This applies not least to his bureaux and writing tables. From the curvaceous Rococo lines and bulging surfaces, he reverted to straight lines and in the Gustavian classical style it is really only the legs which are allowed to deviate from the rectilinear.

Our writing table was made in 1781 and is signed underneath on one of the middle drawers behind the flap, where it says: "Made by G. Haupt, Cabinet-Maker by Royal Appointment, in Stockholm, 1781". This type of writing table or secretaire was new in Paris when Haupt was there during the 1760s. The pale, patchy wood is coloured birch. Haupt is the first cabinet-maker after the Rococo to use birch for veneer. The bronzes play a subordinate role, and instead what matters to the cabinet-maker is the inlays, or amaranths and rosewood.

Picture: A secretaire by Georg Haupt, in 1781, detail.

A secretaire by Georg Haupt, in 1781, detail.


Nationalmuseum Design
@ Kulturhuset Stadsteatern
Sergels torg, Stockholm 

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